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View Full Version : Configuring GCEA tenor strings to DGBE tuning.



Zakulele
07-18-2014, 10:44 AM
So I'm building a cigar box tenor ukulele and I would like to tune it to baritone (dgbe)
tuning. However, as it has been discussed before on UU, it's quite limited when it comes to choices. An idea I have is to use standard GCEA as follows.

-C string as the D string

-G string remains the G string

-A string as the B string

-E string remains the E string

Anybody else ever tried a configuration like this before or have suggestions?

SailingUke
07-18-2014, 11:00 AM
This should work. I am assuming you are using a low g set.
You will have reentrant tuning (high d).
I do a similar thing, but use two c strings, one tuned up to d and one tuned down to b.

kypfer
07-18-2014, 11:54 AM
Which strings you use for which note will depend on scale length ... I'd suggest forgetting ukulele strings and use guitar strings. For baritone tuning on a tenor-length instrument your strings will need to be relatively thick (note - relatively, not very). I'd try a guitar second string as your "E" string and work down from there. Anything much thinner than that is likely to be very floppy. I've got a 1/4-size guitar (19" scale) and conventional nylon guitar strings on this instrument are really quite slack (compared to a full-size instrument). On a ukulele-tenor-length neck, I think they'd be unplayably "floppy".

Tootler
07-18-2014, 12:01 PM
I suggest checking South Coast Ukes (member here). They specialise in strings and may well have a set for doing exactly what you want.

I know someone who has her tenor tuned to baritone tuning and she uses a standard baritone set. I've tried her uke and I think the strings are far too slack with a resultant loss of volume and sustain.

iamesperambient
07-18-2014, 12:21 PM
So I'm building a cigar box tenor ukulele and I would like to tune it to baritone (dgbe)
tuning. However, as it has been discussed before on UU, it's quite limited when it comes to choices. An idea I have is to use standard GCEA as follows.

-C string as the D string

-G string remains the G string

-A string as the B string

-E string remains the E string

Anybody else ever tried a configuration like this before or have suggestions?



you can also buy a custom set of living water strings from ken middleton for this purpose
his strings are very high quality and have a great sound. I use his re-entrant G (high D) on my baritone thinking of putting the custom dgbe re-entrant set on my tenor eventually.

http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/Pages/LWS.aspx

iDavid
07-18-2014, 12:48 PM
Southcoast HUNW: High D

http://www.southcoastukes.com/ukulele.htm

Doc_J
08-11-2014, 05:33 PM
While I have yet to try the South Coast reentrant octave lower d tuning, I have the re-arranged Aquila version on a tenor.

I like it, but not sure if it sounds better to me than b or b-flat linear tuning for a deep warm sound.

Here's a re-arranged Aquila version reentrant octave lower d tuning on a spure top tenor: https://app.box.com/s/gbqjdi78sr9e6tklfmuu

And a b-flat linear (different tenor):https://app.box.com/s/a4wwg0z4xu6drll7h6zw

Jim Hanks
08-11-2014, 06:15 PM
It's strange how the reentrant sounds deeper even though the linear has a lower F. I think it's because the top reentrant string is E and the linear goes higher to G.

coolkayaker1
08-12-2014, 12:28 AM
I wish to acknowledge that I did read Z's question, which is about using GCEA strings in some form to create a DGBE tuning. I do not have answers to that. But I do have some links to information about the notion of tuning a tenor ukulele to DGBE at all. Also, Dirk's post on the thread (linked below) somewhat answers the original question about strings sizes.

Two things: This is a video from Gordon at Mya Moe about baritones tuned like tenors (not your question), but wait! At 4:40 minutes, he gives an opinion about tenor scales tuned to baritone--please advance to that part of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WDRq5qsBsA

And second, a past thread with your question with many good answers, one of which is from the experience of Dirk, at Southcoast Strings (who basically agrees with Gordon), and from Kissing, who has tried amplification successfully.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?47121-Short-scale-(tenor-scale)-baritone&highlight=tenor+tuned+baritone

I think if tuning a tenor-bodied ukulele to DGBE worked well, with any strings, most of us would be doing it on one of our tenors (rather than buying a baritone uke and getting adjusted to yet another fret scale size). I know I would do it (only if it worked well). :-)

Good question, Zakulele. Of course, if I am not wrong, since your are tuning down and not up, you could simply try your idea of GCEA strings, in the pattern you suggested, on a tenor-necked instrument and tune down to DGBE with little repercussions; if you did so, you'd be able to answer your own question and certainly then be the most knowledgeable here on this subject. :cool:Best of luck on your cigar box ukulele.

tangimango
08-13-2014, 02:37 AM
Aquila has a tenor set tuned dgbe aquila 11u.

iDavid
08-13-2014, 03:13 AM
I think Doc J makes a good point. I find that B-flat tuning brings a real warmth to a tenor uke. I tired the Southcoast set for the D tuning (octave-down) and thought they were pretty good, but the B flat tuning was much richer to my ears.

bunnyf
08-13-2014, 03:35 AM
I have Living waters dGBE tenor set (think it was a custom set). Like it very much. Had tried I believe it was an Aquila nylagut set previously and did not like it and went back to gCEA set, but so far I am satisfied with the living Waters set and have left them on. It's a deeper sound for sure, but certainly no where near a baritone sound and I don't think it's just because it's re-entrant and my baritone is linear. Still, it's nice.

Doc_J
08-26-2014, 02:48 AM
you can also buy a custom set of living water strings from ken middleton for this purpose
his strings are very high quality and have a great sound. I use his re-entrant G (high D) on my baritone thinking of putting the custom dgbe re-entrant set on my tenor eventually.

http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/Pages/LWS.aspx


I have Living waters dGBE tenor set (think it was a custom set). Like it very much. Had tried I believe it was an Aquila nylagut set previously and did not like it and went back to gCEA set, but so far I am satisfied with the living Waters set and have left them on. It's a deeper sound for sure, but certainly no where near a baritone sound and I don't think it's just because it's re-entrant and my baritone is linear. Still, it's nice.

Thanks for the Living Water Custom DGBE tenor strings suggestion. Just got a set from Ken, and I do like them better than the Aquila set. The Aquila set was good (i like the wound 3rd), but there there is more sustain and clarity with the Living Water Custom DGBE tenor set.

lindydanny
08-26-2014, 12:06 PM
I second the comments about scale length. You should really consider this in your planning.

If you can't find something that fits the scale length you made, consider looking at other instruments as well for strings such as tenor guitar. That said, I know that Aquila makes a tenor uke set tuned DGBE. I've used them before and they are reasonable. But, you have to remember that tenors are tuned GCEA for a reason. Finding something that will work perfectly at that scale length in that tuning may be a challenge and require a lot experimentation. You may end up buying two or three sets of strings and combining them!

Good luck to you and post some pics and sound clips once you get it running!

~Danny